Faithbook — Biblical Truths for the Digital Age: “Home”

Faithbook–Biblical Lessons for the Digital Age: “Home”
A Message on 2 Corinthians 5:1-10

For Jacksonville First United Methodist Church
Aug. 5, 2018
By Doug Wintermute
dwinterm@yahoo.com

2 Corinthians 5:1-10 (NRSV)

 

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling— 3 if indeed, when we have taken it off we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden, because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

6 So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord— 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.

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Today we are going to talk about the subject of “home” as we continue our sermon series of “Faithbook: Biblical Truths for the Digital Age.”

 

If you are not familiar with Facebook there is a little icon that looks like a house that is used to tell people where your “home” is, where you live. And on the Internet the first, initial page that comes up is called the “home” page.

 

Let me make a confession to you: I am a homebody. I like being at home unless I’m out fishing. And even if I’m out fishing I don’t want to spend the night away; I want to be home each night.

 

Homes are associated with comfort, safety and security. It’s where we raise our families, where we can be ourselves, where we sleep, cook and eat meals, and bathe (at least I hope you bathe). Homes are shelter from the elements, places that are cool during the heat of summer, warm during the coldness of weather, dry places when it rains, and shade when the sun shines.

 

Homes are more than buildings or structures. There is an emotional component to home that goes beyond the structure of a house. The value and perception of a place being “home” is not directly tied to the quality of a structure. You can have a small, run-down house and feel more at home than a huge, massive mansion.

 

I’ve heard people tell of living in houses where you could see daylight through the cracks in walls or see the stars at night through holes in the roof, houses that were hot in summer, cold in winter, wet inside when it rained, and that had all kinds of critters living under them. And yet to the people who lived in such a house, it was home.

 

In the scripture we read today we find the apostle Paul writing to the church in Corinth and giving them some Biblical truths about homes.

 

He refers to our bodies as “tents” and heaven as buildings that God has prepared for us.

 

How many of you have ever been tent camping? Believe it or not back when Pam and I first married we did quite a bit of tent camping. We were young and fit and would load up a cabin tent and my canoe and head out somewhere (usually a state park) to camp.

 

We went through several tents. Before I met Pam I had a small, cheap pup tent that I used. It was small and light and great for sleeping in but that was pretty much it. After we got married we tried one of those dome tents but with all the fiberglass poles and things it was hard to put up and once we did get it up you still couldn’t stand up in it. Finally we bought an old fashioned canvas tent which was big and bulky but provided a lot of room.

 

We still have that tent, ironically, but I’m pretty sure that if we were to try and set it up it would probably just fall apart.

 

Tents don’t last as long as buildings do. Tents are temporary. Buildings are permanent.

 

In the scripture we read today Paul is telling us that our earthly bodies, our human lives, are tents, but that what waits for those who are followers of Jesus Christ are buildings.

 

John echoes this sentiment in the 14 chapter of his gospel. There we find Jesus telling his disciples, “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:2-3)

 

Jesus was telling his disciples about his upcoming death and also his upcoming resurrection. And he was dropping some serious hints that because he was going to overcome death, that we as his followers can do the same.

 

As humans we don’t like to think about death. Us preachers don’t like to preach on death, which is ironic since we do preach funerals. I think part of it is societal. We kind of put death way back at the back of our minds as something we will think about later. We procrastinate the subject out of our consciousness because we think we have bigger, better, and more important things to focus on. Out of sight, out of mind.

 

And yet… None of us get out of this life alive. Just because it is uncomfortable and we don’t like to talk about it doesn’t mean that it will just go away.

 

Pam and I are both fans of sci-fi books and movies. A subject that sometimes comes up in futuristic sci-fi stories is the topic of eternal life. If a medicine or technology was developed that stopped the aging process and made it possible for you to live forever, would you? Would you want to live forever?

 

I don’t think I would want to live forever, even if it was scientifically possible. Ecclesiastes talks about everything having a season, and I think life has seasons as well. And for those of us who are followers of Jesus Christ we know that something better is coming. We know that when our earthly tents wear out that there is a mansion waiting for us in glory.

 

Calvin Howell sang an old song earlier in this service titled, “This World Is Not My Home.” Most people from the time remember it being sung by Country Music legend Jim Reeves, but he didn’t write the song. His wife, Mary, did.

 

The first verse says this:

 

This world is not my home I’m just a passing through
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore

 

So does the promise of heaven mean that we can just take it easy in this life until that day comes when we trade in our tents for mansions? No, of course not.

 

I think Paul’s scripture is to written to give us hope during the tough times. Sometimes death comes suddenly to the young and middle-aged. Sometimes it comes slowly through cancer or other diseases. Sometimes the body continues to live while the mind deteriorates.

 

What ever tough times we face in our lives we can find comfort and, more importantly, hope, in the Bible’s promises that we have a home waiting for us. Whatever troubles we face in this world, it’s good to remember that we’re only passing through. This world is not our home.

 

We celebrate the Lord’s Supper to remember the sacrifice Jesus Christ made for all of humanity. He went to the cross to remove the power death has over us, to bridge the chasm between humans and God, and to give us grace we could never earn on our own.

 

Ironically once Jesus started his ministry he really didn’t have an earthly home, moving from place to place. He even made a comment about it in Matthew’s gospel: “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20)

 

While Jesus may not have had an earthly home, he does have a heavenly one. And the Biblical truth is that so do we.

 

So my challenge for you this week is to remember that this world is not our home, that we’re only passing through. Our true home, which is so wonderful it exceeds our minds’ ability to comprehend, is in heaven. And because of that we can live our lives fearlessly, knowing that whatever hardships we face that they are only temporary. We should live our lives to the fullest, take risks to love deeply, and boldly live out our faith every single day of our lives.

 

[Sing] “And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”

 

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

 

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